Wednesday, the 19th of February–time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. It appears every Wednesday. To participate, simply pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, what makes you want to read it, where you got it, and such. Link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks!

This Wednesday my pick is Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard (1921) by Eleanor Farjeon. This one is classed as a children’s book but from reviews it seems that it would fall more into the young adult, or perhaps even adult reads, since it has a great deal of depth underneath the surface and themes such as loss of love and betrayal. Martin Pippin is a wandering mistrel. One day he comes upon a young ploughman who is crying as his love, a farmer’s daughter, has been locked away, and is guarded by six young milkmaids. To help the young man, Martin sings and tells six love stories to each of the milkmaids to win their trust and get to the farmer’s daughter. He must in the process find out why she was locked up. Each of the tales he tells is a fairy tale, magical and dreamy. The stories are set in Sussex, and include descriptions of actual villages. A sequel Martin Pippin in the Dairy Field appeared in 1937 which featured Pippin telling stories to six young girls making daisy chains; these were children’s stories.

The Author: Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) was an English author, who wrote not only children’s stories but also poetry, biography, history, and satire. Among her earliest works was a book on poems, Pan Worship published in 1908. She got much of her inspiration from family holidays, including a trip to France on which she created the story which was later to become Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard. After World War-I, Farjeon also worked as a broadcaster. The Children’s Book Circle, a society of publishers awards the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children’s literature annually in her memory. Mystery writer J. Jefferson Farjeon whose book, Thirteen Guests I have featured on Shelf Control before (here), and another of which The Z Murders I have read earlier (review here) was her brother. Not only him, her other brother Herbert was a theatre critic and playwright, with whom she also collaborated on some works, while their father Benjamin Farjeon was a novelist, playwright, and journalist.

Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard was recommended to me by a friend, and since I found this available through Project Gutenberg, I downloaded a copy. This sounds like a really charming book, especially the dreamy quality that many ascribe to it, plus the inspiration from or form of fairy tales that the stories in the story take. Of course, I think I will read this one only next year when it turns 100. [The cover is also so pretty: I will keep a lookout for a physical copy if I can find one].

Have you read this one or any others by Farjeon (or any of her family)? Which one/s and how did you find it/them? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!

The info on the book is from Amazon (here) and Goodreads reviews (here), and on both the book and Farjeon wikipedia (here).

The Project Gutenberg version of the book is here


6 thoughts on “Shelf Control #78: Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard by Eleanor Farjeon #Children’s Fiction #TBR

    1. It is rather tempting to pick it up immediately. Honestly I hadn’t really looked into what it was all about when it recommended to me, but that friend has suggested so many that I’ve enjoyed that I downloaded it all the same. But I think I will try and wait until the centenary and may be acquire a physical copy in the meantime.

      Liked by 1 person

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